Saturday, 19 September 2015

Be patient with teachers too!

Back to School

We are three weeks in to the school year and there have been some short tempers and tantrums as we all get a bit tired and overwhelmed with our new timetables, routines and homework. On Friday especially there was far more dysregulation, arguing and hyper behaviour than usual. It was mostly from the pupils of course but everything I just said is true of the teachers too.

Even in a secondary school which is making an effort to be trauma aware we sometimes mess up: as a school and as individual teachers.  Cornered by a parent on Tuesday evening, as I was rushing home to take my own Lad to a medical appointment, there was an expectation that I would have a very full knowledge of her daughter's needs. Of course this pupil's notes are on the system and I will have had a quick look but realistically I am learning the names and needs of over 200 children, all of whom are new to me, and the temptation to come out with a comment like:

"In the short time I have known your child I believe she is a girl with brown hair."

is huge. I will get there but we are only three weeks in.

Then there are the times when I make mistakes in the classroom.. Teachers, like parents, sometimes run out of empathy. Even those of us who are the most trauma aware get tired and stressed. We may react to a situation without thinking, we may get frustrated and raise our voices. I try to always model appropriate behaviour in my classroom but I have bad days when I overreact. If I realise in time I will apologise to the class and admit my mistake or if it is an individual pupil I have dealt with badly I will try to find them later and restore the relationship but I have a full timetable and it's a busy school - I don't always have time and then the opportunity is lost.

You know those days when, as parents trying to do it therapeutically, our children push us to the limit and we react in a way we regret? Teachers can be guilty of this too. We have 30 children in front of us and they switch every hour 5 or 6 times a day. We do mess up, that doesn't mean we don't care about your child. Please be patient with us.


  1. I can relate to so much of this! My first job was as a classroom Music teacher in a busy high school with over 1800 pupils, including a 6th form. For year 7 they had a rotation system where children swapped from Music to Dance every half term. The first year 7 parents evening was just after half term, so parents would expect me to know their children (who had been at the school over two months) and I might have seen them once in a class of 30 for one hour. It was embarrassing not to know the children, especially if their parents brought them along and I still didn't recognise them. Additionally, as a teacher of a 'non-core' subject, I would find that children's support staff were not available for my lessons. My first year as an NQT I had a Y7 Music class with two profoundly deaf children, and no support of any kind. It was a steep learning curve for all of us and I'm sure those children did not get the very best they could have had that year.

    1. Yes lack of support can be very difficult too. I have a lovely Year 8 boy in one class who has a statement for ADHD and should always have an LSA in class with him. currently he does not as we are three support staff short and he is not of greatest need. Difficult for all of us but until the recruitment process finds us some new blood we will muddle through :)